Remothered: Tormented Fathers was one of my favourite new horror titles of the past few years, combining some well considered stealth with an unusual and compelling narrative. While it showed its relatively low budget in terms of presentation, there was a lot to love about it. So I’ve been looking forward to the next title in the series with great anticipation – especially as it has seen a number of delays. Now scheduled for an October 20th release, I have had the chance to play a preview build and am happy to say that, for the most part, Broken Porcelain is just the sequel that I was hoping for.
The storyline for the first game was convoluted and labyrinthine, so my tired old brain was pleased by the summary of events at the beginning of the demo. This was static text here, but promises to be fully rendered as a video ready for the full release. Either way, it’s great to see that Stormind appreciates that their audience may well have not played the first title – or have forgotten the details over the three years. The summary reminded me how much the game owed to the likes of Psycho and how challenging its portrayal of a troubled mind was. I’m not in a position to fully comment on the way it incorporated a complex representation of traumatic gender dysphoria (as opposed to trans identity) but it is worth highlighting that this is an aspect of the original’s story.
The preview content saw us playing as a young girl, Jennifer, who turns out to have a key link to the events of the previous game. Taking place in 1973, Jennifer is a young runaway living in a shelter for troubled girls. A rapid series of events transforms her life as she needs to escape from The Ashmann Inn using stealth and puzzle solving in traditional survival horror fashion.
The historical setting and grimy aesthetic fits with the Giallo-esque feel of the original – a comparison cemented by the fact that the titles are set and developed in Italy. Beneath that grime, you can still see an increased level of polish and refinement over its predecessor, and the final build promises even greater things.
Stealth is the name of the game here, and you will spend the majority of your time sneaking around, hiding from sinister foes and solving a range of puzzles. Some of these are basic key fetch-quests, whilst others become more elaborate. The majority of the preview build focuses on the sneaking, however, and this mostly works well. I did find that the controls (playing on keyboard and mouse) were a little clunky, and there were strange moments where Jennifer wouldn’t move through gaps that she was visually able to. There were also a few issues with interacting with objects as the cursor wouldn’t always align with items that were highlighted, which didn’t help with rummaging through the many cupboards and drawers in search of items. In fact the preview build featured an almost overwhelming number of crafting ingredients and weapons. I lost count of the number of knives, screwdrivers, or sharp trowels I was somehow carrying in my pockets. It remains to be seen how this pointy bounty squares with the usual survival horror focus on scarce resources.
There was one main enemy featured in the preview, and they featured the same grotesque appearance and persistence of those in Tormented Fathers (although the lack of saggy old man butt was welcome here). The musical and audio cues for being discovered were particularly effective and there was a genuine sense of dread and unease.
As a taster for the full game, this preview worked really well. It is clear that Stormind Games have listened to fans and critics in refining the central mechanics, and the initial hints at the storyline certainly have me intrigued. I hope that the object interaction and QTEs are tightened up in the full release, but am looking forward to spending some dark autumn evenings exploring the horrors of The Ashmann Inn and whatever other locations the game includes. Look out for our full review just in time for Halloween.